Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Truth About: Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution TV Show

“In order to make meaningful dietary changes, people need to be educated. They need to be given accurate information. When people are given the accurate information, they can make an educated decision, and many will be inspired to make significant dietary changes, excited about the prospect of excellent health.”

Clearly there are some positive aspects to Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Certainly he is bringing attention to the deplorable school food situation in this country.
He also genuinely wants to improve the health of our country’s children. He aims to teach people how to cook for themselves. Jamie Oliver’s passion for healthy eating is admirable, but his recommendations on healthy eating are not scientifically sound. ‘Made from scratch’ does not mean ‘health-promoting' and the missed opportunity for significant change is enormous.
The science of nutrition unfortunately is not common knowledge. In order to make meaningful dietary changes, people need to be educated. They need to be given accurate information, not a diluted version designed to keep them in their comfort zone to avoid making them uncomfortable. When people are given the accurate information, they can make an educated decision, and many will be inspired to make significant dietary changes, excited about the prospect of excellent health. 
Others will never be convinced or at least not until their lives are in immediate danger. Unfortunately moderate dietary changes do not remove food addictions, prevent overeating and do little to nothing to lower rates of heart disease and cancer. There is both an opportunity and a responsibility when you have a public voice advocating a healthful diet to really advocate something that is healthy. Large changes do not have to happen overnight, but with the right information, people will know what their eventual goals are and overall many more people could be positively affected.
Similar to the U.S. government’s recommendation to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, Jamie’s recommendations are simply not enough to prevent or reverse disease or to result in significant weight loss. This information misleads people into thinking that the first step is actually the whole journey. So many people think they already eat healthy diets when they don’t – and it is in part because half measures and baby steps are portrayed as the real thing.
It is not enough to simply switch from very harmful foods to freshly prepared and somewhat less harmful foods. Moderate changes most often don’t even bring moderate benefits, they bring no benefits. Complacency in moderate changes will not prevent heart attacks and cancers and people will continue to suffer and die needlessly. If people do not want to eat healthfully, that is their right, but let’s make it clear, Jamie is well-intentioned, but he is not teaching anything close to a health-supporting diet.  

To your health, Joel Fuhrman, MD